Fort Belvoir, Virginia –
The Defense Logistics Agency celebrated the “platinum anniversary” of its Hall of Fame event, inducting five individuals during a ceremony at the Headquarters McNamara Complex, July 26.
Several current and former senior leaders from throughout the agency attended, as well as dignitaries from other government agencies and the families of the honorees.
The new inductees were honored for their contributions to DLA through 2017, when each was nominated and then chosen by the selection committee.
DLA Director Army Lt. Gen. Darrell Williams began his opening remarks, lauding the inductees’ achievements.
“I have long felt that you can tell the character and culture of an organization by the way that it recognizes its people,” he said. “There’s no one who embodies the essence of DLA more than the five former DLA employees that we will induct into the Hall of Fame today.”
Williams noted there are now 111 members since the 1998 inception of the DLA Hall of Fame. He compared the 2018 DLA Hall of Fame honorees to the players inducted each year into the National Football League’s Hall of Fame.
“No doubt the players they will induct into this year’s hall of fame will have made significant contributions to their respective football teams,” he said. “However, I would suggest that their accomplishments will pale in comparison to the [important] accomplishments of our DLA Hall of Famers and their support to our men and women in uniform and the defense of our nation.”
The director called the inductees innovative individuals who pioneered practices and systems that DLA still uses.
“They’re leaders … they’re pathfinders, they’re visionaries — and in many cases, they’re still our mentors,” he said. “They built the very foundation that we stand upon — so we owe them a debt of thanks.”
Williams thanked all in the audience who took time to attend the ceremony.
“It shows respect to the work that these individuals have done and the legacy of excellence that they have left behind,” he said.
The general said there are three reasons to continue DLA Hall of Fame ceremonies: To preserve our history, to promote our values and to celebrate excellence.
“The stories of our Hall of Famers reminds us of what service to our nation is all about,” he said. “As we honor our inductees for their leadership and their accomplishments, this celebration is also about inspiration and motivation for all of us as we look forward to the next 57 years of DLA.”
One example of such a story is from Lillie Mae Brown’s daughter.
Lillian Brown-Gritton accepted the honor on her mother’s behalf. She said she couldn’t speak to who her mother was as a DLA employee, but could tell the audience about her mother’s character.
“She believed in the biblical exhortations to open your mouth for the mute, for the oppressed, and to seek justice,” she said. “And she attempted to do that as best she could.”
Brown-Gritton said her mother’s belief in “fundamental fairness and equality for all” extended even to seemingly inconsequential choices, like her daughter’s choice of one Barbie doll over another.
“She wanted me to understand the challenge that she faced here and that others faced here, but more than that, she wanted me to carefully consider who I included and who I excluded in my activities,” Brown-Gritton said.
“I know that she would be thrilled to receive this award, but I think what would really make her happy is to realize that she has made a difference and that she has helped to improve the quality of this organization.”
- Lillie Mae Brown, inducted posthumously, was a systems analyst at DLA Aviation whose formal complaint alleging gender-based discrimination in 1974 became the catalyst for improvements to hiring, training, awards and promotion practices throughout DLA.
- Donna Davis, a tenacious leader whose 32-year government career took her from administrative assistant to supervisor, played a key role in DLA's creation of the Enterprise Business System, as well as its research and development efforts.
- Retired Army Maj. Gen. Robert Gaskill excelled as the agency's deputy director from 1978 to 1981 and helped the newly renamed Defense Logistics Agency manage its growing mission in an era of major change.
- Larry Glasco’s leadership through operational and organizational change while working in DLA’s Logistics Operations directorate left a legacy of Customer Relationship Management focus that has continued to thrive.
- Army Gen. Gustave Perna began his career as an infantry officer but later served as commander of DLA Troop Support and Army Materiel Command, his current role. He made numerous significant contributions that continue to enhance the nation's military readiness and DLA's reputation.
Williams noted that Perna also bears the unique distinction of being the only former DLA leader to become a four-star general.
“The success of this great agency over the past 57 years can be attributed directly to the actions of these remarkable individuals,” he said.
Williams and Air Force Maj. Gen. Mark Johnson, director of Logistics Operations, honored Gaskill with an additional presentation of a lapel pin for his service in Vietnam. The pin is presented to living U.S. military veterans who served during the Vietnam War period as a lasting memento of the nation's thanks.
In closing, the director announced DLA will honor its highest achievers with a new award; named for the agency’s first director, Andrew T. McNamara.
“McNamara was an innovator – it was his vision that shaped what we are now as the Defense Logistics Agency,” Williams said. “It seems incredible now, but through his forceful leadership and determination, he stood up the Defense Supply Agency and he completely changed the game.”
“I believe that spirit of innovation is alive and well today in the Defense Logistics Agency, so we want to seek out and honor one individual each year,” he said. “To do that, I have approved the establishment of the Lieutenant General Andrew T. McNamara Icon Award.”
Williams said the DLA workforce can expect the initial nomination for the individual, who can be a civilian or military employee, former or current, in July 2019. The inaugural presentation is expected to take place at the 2019 DLA Ball.
Senior leaders and special guests in attendance included retired Army Lt. Gen. Arthur Gregg, former Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics; retired Maj. Gen. Hawthorne “Peet” Proctor, former Army Quartermaster General and 2005 Hall of Fame member; prior DLA Hall of Famers including: Don Shycoff (2001); Bobby Parsons (2005), Jeffrey Neal (2013) and Mary Studevant (2016); Williams’ wife, Myra and heads of all DLA’s major subordinate commands.
More information on the DLA Hall of Fame members can be read in the online Hall of Fame page.